Your neighborhood. Your ideas. Your home.
This guide was created in thanks to a “Helping Each Other Thrive” grant from Community First Foundation. The goal of the grant and guide is to support community engagement efforts for building leadership, advocacy, and other skills for local residents to become more active in their communities. We expect this guide to continue to evolve as we engage in future learning opportunities that help support and evolve the Sustainable Neighborhoods Program.
Neighborhood engagement presents both a challenge and an opportunity for Sustainable Neighborhood volunteer leaders. It can be challenging to achieve the reach and engagement we strive for, yet we have an exciting opportunity to welcome and include the experiences, interests, and voices of all types of residents in making our neighborhoods resilient places to live for all.
This guide summarizes information from the 2022 Building Diversity and Strengthening Engagement Speaker series and a leadership retreat, which included a total of four workshops presented by local experts. Each of the 2022 presenters shared with participants their perspectives, recommended models, and best practices for engaging diverse communities and strengthening engagement in our neighborhoods. Their insights and contributions are briefly explained here followed by links which allow you to expand on and explore more about each workshop.
Many organizations and municipalities have found a Community Connector model to be successful in engaging diverse communities. Community Connectors are individual community members who are trusted voices within their own neighborhoods and help to strengthen the relationship between underrepresented communities and city government. The City of Boulder has used this approach to equitably engage diverse communities in several short- and long-term city programming and planning processes, from emergency response to parks and recreation master planning. Learn more about the model and the City of Boulder’s program:
Like Boulder's Community Connectors program, a Neighborhood Ambassador Program uses ambassadors within their own communities to spread news and generate excitement and engagement. According to researchers from Colorado State University, this can be a successful approach for reaching renters and multi-family dwellers. CSU researchers provide a series of steps for implementing an ambassador program and best practices for working with property managers to engage renters and residents in multifamily housing. Learn more about their program:
Local libraries offer an incredible range of resources and services many residents may not be aware of. The local Jefferson County Public Library employs a coordinator of diversity and inclusion who provides guidance, tools, resources, and more to neighborhoods looking to engage diverse communities. The library also hosts numerous resources that are free to community members, from online training to lending of technology products. Learn more about the resources and partnerships that Jeffco offers as well as tips and techniques for promoting equity and diversity:
Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency shared its best practices for equitable community engagement. Denver’s best practices have been informed by the Colorado Environmental Justice Action Task Force’s November 2022 recommendations report.